TRAI Chairman terms telcos stand on spectrum auction ‘paradoxical’

TRAI Chairman RS Sharma thinks that telecom operators have a paradoxical stand on the matter of premium spectrum auction. The criticism stems from the differing views network brands have expressed regarding the process.

According to Sharma, players were previously complaining about the lack of spectrum and cited the scarcity as the reason why it was not able to supply high-quality services. He claims the same companies are now telling TRAI to not auction the spectrum, leading to a contradictory situation.

Spectrum Sharing

As per PTI, the Telecom Commission has asked TRAI to clarify the details of its mega-spectrum auction plan worth Rs 536000 crore. Operators are up in arms about the expensive Rs 11485/MHz price tag attached to the 700MHz band. If all the frequencies within the airwave are sold at this rate, it would generate revenues of over Rs 400000 crore.

Telecom companies are now asking TRAI to delay the sale of the 700MHz bandwidth. They assert that the ecosystem for supplying services in the spectrum has not been developed yet. If sold now, it would lead to under-utilization of the band for years and cut off access to the industry’s funds.

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The 700MHz radiowave is highly valuable because it can deliver signals at 70% lower rates than the 2100MHz band which is currently used for 3G networks in India. Furthermore, airwaves are valued according to how efficient it is. The lower the band, the higher its capability to beam out long distance signals.

The Telecom Commission is now deliberating whether it should introduce a staggered auction for the 700MHz spectrum. The government is currently expecting to earn approximately Rs 98995 crore collectively from communication services in 2016-17 thanks to the bidding process and other fees.